As I’ve been mulling over how to proceed with my producer’s passion script which, for the first time in my personal experience, has a real prospect of being filmed, and working on the content for a web application I hope to develop to help screenwriters construct solid works, I’ve been casting about lately for gems of wisdom, something to bolster me at the stage of development I’ve reached on both projects. I’ve gathered a huge bounty in past years from books and internet articles, but, of course, in creating this program, I have to write my own approach, in my own words. As for the screenplay, that goes without saying, as well.
One of the books I read, some years back, that I always had the hardest time connecting with, in terms of story structure construction, was always Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. Anytime you bring up a particular title among screenwriting books, you’ll always find someone who finds some particular book indispensable, and I’ve met fans of this one. Me? I figured I’d probably consult it if I ever tried writing a “Hercules” flick.
Lately, I’ve been reading some excellent Cracking Yarns blog articles from Allen Palmer, a self-professed Vogler fan. But, luckily for me, he disagrees with Vogler’s suggestion that the hero’s character arc take place gradually. I agree with Palmer, that’s not so good. The dramatic, character-changing “arc” more effectively serves much in the manner of an electrical arc, and Palmer does a great job explaining why in this article, A new character-driven Hero’s Journey, which features another virtue — it connects The Hero’s Journey paradigm with “chick flicks!” (And there are a lot of “chick flicks” that I like, myself.)
So, this article works for me. I know Palmer’s right, when it comes to what interests us in movies, “it’s not about the plot,” and I think perceiving The Writer’s Journey as taking place at the plot level is why I’ve always had such a difficult time with it. Palmer’s explicit, well-reasoned re-interpretation of the stages as taking place in the emotional journey of the lead is exactly the kind of matter I need to take care of right now in my own “writer’s journey.” I hope it helps you, too.